Belgium’s Working Holiday Visa for Australians

Belgium’s Working Holiday Visa for Australians
Bruges, Belgium. Photo by Matt Graham.

If you’re an Australian aged between 18 and 30 years old, you can apply for a Working Holiday visa to stay in Belgium for up to 12 months!

This visa allows you to live and work in Belgium, travel within the Schengen Area, leave & re-enter Belgium and the Schengen Area as often as you like, and study in Belgium for up to 3 months.

This page contains information about the Belgian Working Holiday Visa for Australian citizens. It was last updated on 15 February 2024.

Key facts about Belgium

  • Population: Approx. 12 million
  • Official languages: Flemish (Dutch), French and German (many Belgians are multilingual, but the main language spoken depends on the region)
  • Capital city: Brussels
  • Largest cities: Brussels, Antwerp, Ghent, Charleroi, Liège
  • Name of the country in its official languages: België (Dutch), Belgique (French) or Belgien (German)
  • Currency: Euro

Belgium Working Holiday Scheme requirements for Australians

Belgium offers working holiday visas to citizens of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, South Korea & Taiwan. The information on this page is applicable to Australian citizens and may be different for other nationalities.

To apply for a Belgian Working Holiday Visa as an Australian citizen, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Aged between 18-30 years old (inclusive) at the time of application
  • Have at least €2,500 (approx. AUD3,700) in savings
  • Have a valid return plane ticket to Belgium, or enough money to buy one
  • Submit a medical certificate issued by a medical doctor appointed by the Belgian embassy in Australia (you may need to undergo a medical examination to demonstrate you have no diseases that could endanger public health)
  • Produce a document vouching for your good character

You cannot apply for this visa if you:

  • Have already applied for a visa under the Belgian working holiday scheme

Although you are allowed to work in Belgium with a working holiday visa, your primary reason for coming to Belgium should be for a holiday. Any work should be incidental and not the main purpose of travelling to Belgium.

See the Belgian Embassy in Australia website for more information.

Documents needed to apply for this visa

When applying for a Working Holiday Visa for Belgium as an Australian citizen, you will need to provide (two sets of) the following documents:

  • Two completed and signed long stay visa application forms (this link is to the old PDF forms – the new form is online)
  • Two passport-sized photographs
  • Your valid Australian passport
  • A receipt proving you have paid the applicable administrative fee (see below)
  • An original National Criminal History Record Check (Name check) from the past six months. This must be legalised by the Australian government with an Apostille stamp.
  • A recent medical certificate signed and stamped by a doctor appointed by the Belgian embassy, stating that you do not suffer from any contagious diseases (such as tuberculosis). You will need to obtain a blood test and chest x-ray, then present the results to the designated doctor who will provide a signed letter to the Belgian embassy.
  • Bank statement/s in your name proving you have at least the equivalent of €2,500 in funds
  • A flight itinerary with a return flight to Belgium, or a one-way flight plus proof of at least €1,000 in additional funds to buy a return ticket
  • Either proof of travel/health insurance valid in Belgium, or a copy of your Australian Medicare card valid for at least 3 months after you intend to leave Belgium. (Australia and Belgium have a reciprocal health care agreement.)

There is a visa fee of AUD306 (this amount is subject to change), plus a VFS Global Visa Service Fee of AUD68. This amount is paid directly to VFS Global when submitting your application at one of their Visa Application Centres.

An administrative fee of EUR220 (approx. AUD362) also applies to working holiday visa applications, which would be payable directly to the Belgian immigration office.

This brings the total fees to approximately AUD736.

More information is available on the VFS Global website.

How to apply for a Belgian Working Holiday Visa

Since 21 September 2021, the Belgian embassy in Canberra has outsourced the processing of visa applications to VFS Global. Australians are now able to apply via any of the six VFS Global Visa Application Centres in Australia or New Zealand.

Within Australia, VFS Global has Visa Application Centres in Canberra, Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

After downloading, completing and printing the visa application form on the Belgian government’s website and collecting all the required documents, you’ll need to book an appointment to visit a VFS Global Visa Application Centre.

See the VFS Global website for more details about the visa application process.

If you live in QLD, SA, TAS or NT, or more than two hours from a VFS Global office and cannot apply in person, you may email the Belgian embassy to make alternative arrangements.

The Belgian embassy says that the usual visa processing time is around one month, so allow plenty of time.

Arriving in Belgium

You should travel to Belgium within 3 months of your visa being issued. Once you arrive, there’s one final step.

You must visit the local town hall (gemeente/commune) within 8 days of arrival in Belgium to register with the local authorities. Bring your passport and the documents you submitted when applying for your visa.

At the town hall, you’ll be issued with a residence card, called a “Certificat d’inscription au registre de étrangers” (CIRE) in French or “Bewijs van inschrijving in het vreemdelingeregister” (BIVR) in Dutch. This card acts as your residence permit and allows you to stay in Belgium and travel freely within the Schengen Area.

While best efforts are made to keep this information updated, we do not guarantee its accuracy. If you spot an error, would like to suggest new information to be added or simply have a question, please let us know in the comments and we’ll endeavour to respond or update the article as quickly as possible!

Matt Graham

Matt is the founder of Working Holidays for Aussies. Passionate about travel and always looking for great deals, he believes that gap years & working holidays are the perfect opportunity to immerse yourself in another culture and gain invaluable life experience. Originally from Australia, Matt has travelled to over 80 countries and has lived in New Zealand, Germany, Austria and the Netherlands.

7 thoughts on “Belgium’s Working Holiday Visa for Australians

  1. Hi there,

    I’m interested in applying for a WHV from Australia to Belgium for next year. Below is my understanding of the process from reading your article and other related links online. I have seen some mixed answers to the following questions and am hoping you may be able to help clarify around travel permissions.

    After being granted a WHV (Visa D) online through VFS, arriving in Belgium and deciding on an area to live in, a rental contract should be obtained quickly and an appointment needs to be scheduled at the local town hall as stated above (within 8 days of arriving).

    After this initial town hall appointment, I understand the police will visit your listed place of residence over the coming days/weeks to check you are really there (therefore, it needs to be a longer-term address compared to an airbnb, hotel or hostel). Once this visit has been completed and documents have been signed by your allocated officer, you return to the town hall for another appointment and apply for your national ID card.

    While waiting for this card (which I have heard can take months) – is it possible to:
    1) Legally work during this time?
    2) Travel out of Belgium to other Schengen (or Non-Schengen) countries?

    I’m unsure if there is a temporary paperwork permitting work and/or travel during the wait time for processing. For example, if the card takes 5 months to arrive… am I allowed to work and travel (internationally) within those 5 months or is it expected I stay within the borders of Belgium?
    Is international travel known to be restricted for the WHV in Belgium, or in any other Western European countries who also hold the WHV visa for Australians?

    I understand the purpose of the visa is to experience Belgium’s culture and way of life, with work as incidental. However, I would also love to travel freely to neighbouring countries and would like to know if this is likely to be restricted for any part of the 12 month visa.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Nikki. I can’t give you a definitive answer on all of this as I haven’t applied for a Belgian working holiday visa myself. But my understanding is that, with this type of visa, you would normally receive a residence card when registering with the local municipality (and showing all the required documents) within 8 days of moving into a Belgian address. The process may be different for other visa types and nationalities.

      Once you have a residence permit/card, you should be allowed to work in Belgium and travel around the rest of the Schengen Area, as long as your primary residence is in Belgium and that’s where you spend most of your time. Even if it takes a bit longer, you are still able to travel within the Schengen Area for 90 out of every 180 days as a tourist (but cannot work).

      Good luck and I’d be interested to hear how you go once you’ve arrived in Belgium!

    2. Hi Nikki,

      I’m in the same position right now and trying to figure out whether I’d be able to work while waiting for a police check…I’m only in Belgium for four months so would much prefer working straight away. Could you please let me know if you find out any more information! Thank you.

  2. I had a Belgian working holiday visa and went to Belgium for a month before having to return to Australia during the pandemic in 2020.

    I asked if I could get a second working holiday visa on the basis that Australia is allowing Belgians who were disrupted by the pandemic to come back to Australia again but was told by the embassy that they will not issue a second visa regardless.

    Matt if you have any advice about how this could potentially be appealed I would appreciate it as I had a year long plan for Belgium and would love to go and finally do it!


    1. I assume you’ve read this article –

      Sadly, I don’t think there’s anything you can do in this situation. If the Belgian embassy has denied your request, there is nowhere you can really appeal to.

      Perhaps you could consider applying for a working holiday visa in a neighbouring country and spending a year there, or travelling to Belgium again on a different kind of visa?

      I also had a stay in Europe cut short by the pandemic, and have come to accept that I won’t be able to get back the time I lost there.

  3. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for the article. I will be applying for Belgium WHV, but I’ll be staying at family friend’s place for the first few months. Do I have to show any proof of my stay? I am happy to mention my family friend’s address in the application and their contact details.

    Also, do we have to buy/keep any private health insurance (other than Australian Medicare card)?


    1. Unless I’m missing something, I don’t think proof of accommodation is one of the documents you need to apply for this visa? But if you’re asked about this specifically, you could provide a letter from your friend that includes their address.

      You can see a list of the documents required here:

      Australians are not technically required to have travel insurance due to the reciprocal health care agreement between Australia and Belgium. (This requirement does apply to NZ citizens, though.) If you’re Australian, you can just show your Medicare card with the application. That said, travel insurance is strongly recommended.

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